Photo Sync: Figuring Out Lightroom Mobile and iCloud Photo Library [en]

[fr] En train de me dépatouiller avec la nouvelle application Photos d'Apple et la version mobile de Lightroom. Pas encore tout à fait là (la connexion internet un peu lente et le grand nombre de photos n'aident pas).

In the background of my many days of “doing nothing” here in Kolkata, I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around how sync works for both iCloud Photo Library and Lightroom for mobile, particularly as I’m in the process of giving up on Google Photos. Agreed, it’s not exactly the same part of the workflow (getting photos onto my computer archive vs. getting them online/backing them up). But you know how my thought processes work by now, don’t you? 😉

Apple’s iCloud Photo Library seems to be working pretty well. The photos and videos sync, deleting one somewhere deletes copies elsewhere. It’s really clear they are “stored in the cloud” and you can download the full versions if you want. The copies are stored in one of these “Document Packages” which you can open like a folder (right-click!) — I’ve even created a shortcut to the 2015 folder in “Masters” so I can access the photos through Finder if needed. Added advantage, as it’s the native OSX way of doing things, photos show up in the “Photos category” when browsing for files to import into Lightroom, for example.

No Parking

So, simply using iCloud Photo Library would be a way to get my photos into Lightroom without having to physically connect my devices to the computer.

But… Lightroom has its own system for this, so if it works, wouldn’t it be even better? So far, it’s not working as seamlessly as the Apple system. First of all, because I sync everything on my iDevices with iCloud photo library, Lightroom for mobile seems to import a copy of each photo from each device. Although there is an OK plugin to find duplicates in your Lightroom library, wouldn’t a workflow that doesn’t create them in the first place be better?

Two things that I wasn’t sure about, but I now know:

  • photos from your iPad/iPhone are added to the Creative Cloud and Lightroom Desktop full-sized; photos from Lightroom Desktop shared to iPad/iPhone through Creative Cloud are shared through their smart previews
  • the photos synced from your iDevices are made available in a folder on your hard drive, so you can easily drag-and-drop them into your normal archive folders.

I’m running a few tests to see what happens to photos I delete. The photos app seems the best place for quick-and-dirty sorting (if only because when taking photos I’m directly in that app). What I am thinking of doing is turning on Lightroom syncing only from either the iPad or the iPhone, to avoid duplicates. The iPad, probably.

But does that mean I need to open Photos, wait for everything to sync, and then open Lightroom mobile to do it? So far it seems that it’s the way it works — Photos doesn’t seem to be uploading anything in the background from my iDevices, and Lightroom definitely isn’t. This is good when you want to save bandwidth, but less good when your various photo containers are up-to-date and you want things to “just work” invisibly, behind the scenes.

As I’ve been saying for a while, I’m really looking for the day this stuff “just works”.

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Ménage numérique [fr]

[en] Musings on backups (my first real hard drive failure) and on trying to keep digital stuff (smartphone photos, anyone?) under control. Oh, and Hazel. Try Hazel if you haven't yet.

Entre hier et aujourd’hui, ménage numérique. Il faut que je vous parle du workshop que j’ai donné hier au Swiss Creative Center, mais d’abord, le ménage.

En rentrant de Neuchâtel, j’ai branché Time Machine, parce que ça faisait 2 semaines que je n’avais pas fait de backup, me disait mon ordi, mais surtout, parce que j’avais vu passer un petit tweet de Matt Gemmell un peu plus tôt dans la journée:

Oups, me suis-je dit. Avec toute l’énergie que je mets à encourager mon entourage à faire des sauvegardes, ce serait bête que je ne suive pas mes propres préceptes. Bon, ce ne serait pas la première fois, non plus.

Je branche aussi mon disque dur externe, celui qui contient plus de 10 ans de photos et bien d’autres choses. 600Gb de données. Au bout d’un moment, je me rends compte qu’il couine. Et qu’il n’est toujours pas visible dans le Finder. Re-oups.

Je vous passe les étapes pour vérifier qu’il était bien mort (il l’était). Le coeur battant un peu, je vérifie où en était ma dernière sauvegarde Crashplan (2 jours, ouf). Celle de Time Machine date d’il y a deux semaines… j’ai fait un peu de ménage dans mes photos depuis là. Je lance le “restore”:

  • Crashplan: 10 jours (la sauvegarde est sur mon serveur à l’eclau)
  • Time Machine: 10 heures (la sauvegarde est sur un disque dur externe que je peux brancher direct dans mon ordi)

Je récupère les fichiers dans Time Machine, et ceux “qui manquent” dans Crashplan.  Ça tourne toute la nuit. Aujourd’hui je vais chez STEG pour rendre le disque dur cassé et en ramasser un nouveau (3 mois de durée de vie… heureusement il y a une garantie).

Bref, cette histoire aurait pu être un désastre si mes sauvegardes n’avaient pas été plus ou moins à jour! C’est la première fois de ma vie qu’un disque dur me claque entre les mains. Heureusement ça arrive à une période où j’ai un système de sauvegardes qui roule. Il y a quelques années, j’aurais pu perdre des choses irremplaçables.

Ne jouez pas avec le feu, faites des sauvegardes, et dites-moi si vous voulez mon code Crashplan pour avoir une sauvegarde distante sur mon serveur. Quand on se fait cambrioler ou que notre logement brûle (Dieu nous en garde), c’est déjà assez horrible comme ça sans qu’on ait en plus perdu toutes les photos de nos chats ou de nos enfants.

En parallèle de tout ça, j’ai remis le nez dans IFTTT et Google Plus. Avec iOS7 (ou peut-être même avant mais je dormais), il y a plein de portes intéressantes qui s’ouvrent. Par exemple, Auto Backup uploade automatiquement vos photos de smartphone dans Google Plus (elles sont privées bien sûr, mais on peut ensuite les partager d’un simple clic). J’ai joué donc du coup avec les albums et les photos dans Google Plus. J’aime bien, sauf que j’ai la sale impression que Google Plus duplique les photos quand je les partage, et je n’aime pas sa manie de faire des albums sans me demander quand je partage plusieurs photos d’un coup. Je suis peut-être un peu formattée “Facebook”, mais j’ai l’impression que c’est un peu plus le pétchi.

Autre chose testée, le partage de photos dans Facebook directement depuis l’album photos d’iOS7. J’aime bien, en passant, comment iOS7 regroupe les photos en “moments”. J’aimerais bien que Lightroom en prenne de la graine. (Tiens, peut-être temps de passer à la version 5.)

Le problème récurrent que j’ai avec les photos que je prends sur mon smartphone, c’est que je les partage (Facebook, Google Plus maintenant, et même Flickr) sans qu’elles ne transitent par mon ordinateur. Et mon ordinateur — enfin le fameux disque dur externe qui est mort, là — c’est quand même ma “master copy” de toutes mes photos. Je gère le tout avec Lightroom, qui gère également la publication sur Flickr, Facebook, et Google Plus. Vu que Auto Backup met automatiquement toutes mes photos sur Google Plus, je préférerais par exemple que Lightroom aille les “chercher” là-bas pour les importer dans son catalogue.

L’autre souci, c’est que beaucoup des photos que je prends avec mon iPhone sont vouées à finir leur vie dans Evernote. Photos de tickets, de documents, de livres que je lis… Pas besoin que ça finisse dans Lightroom ni que ça y passe. Jusqu’à maintenant, j’importais de temps en temps les photos de mon téléphone dans Lightroom (avec le câble), puis je triais celles qui allaient dans Evernote, les glissais-déposais dans l’application, et déplaçais les fichiers originaux dans un dossier “dans Evernote”. Comme ça, la prochaine fois que j’importe les photos de mon iPhone dans Lightroom, celui-ci ne me propose pas de les réimporter.

En zieutant les nouveautés de IFTTT (depuis la dernière fois que j’avais regardé), je me dis que je pourrais avoir sur mon iPhone un album Evernote, et une règle IFTTT qui envoie dans Evernote toute photo mise dans cet album. Malheureusement, ma recette ne semble pas fonctionner. Problème d’IFTTT? d’Evernote? d’iOS7? Allez savoir.

Bref, après toutes ces explorations je me dis que je vais rester à mon ancien système un peu manuel, même s’il provoque des doublons de photos partagées sur Facebook et Google Plus.

Alors que je réfléchis à ces questions sur Facebook, un ami m’aiguille sur Hazel. Hazel vous permet d’établir des règles pour votre Mac afin de faire un peu d’ordre dans vos fichiers. Par exemple, toute image qui se trouve dans le dossier téléchargements depuis plus d’un jour sera déplacée dans mon dossier photos. Tout .dmg trainant là depuis plus d’une semaine sera balancé. Vous pouvez tester gratuitement Hazel pendant 14 jours avant de l’acheter (et le prix est raisonnable). Moi, une heure après, je l’aime déjà.

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Photos Online on Flickr, Facebook, and Google+ With Lightroom [en]

[fr] Comment je fais pour publier mes photos sur Flickr, Facebook et Google+ depuis Lightroom, avec les plugins de Jeffrey Friedl.

I like Lightroom a lot and have been using it for a few years now to manage my photos. I don’t do a lot of processing/retouching, and it fills my needs perfectly:

  • I can organize my photos on my hard drive the way I want (monthly, then “events” if needed)
  • It doesn’t touch the original photos (non-destructive editing)
  • I can retouch, crop, and do the stuff I deem necessary to improve my photos
  • I can batch-rename photos according to pretty much any template I want
  • I can upload photos to Flickr, Facebook, and Google+ directly from Lightroom.

Autour du chalet, lumière

I’ve been using Jeffrey’s Flickr plugin for a while now. The neat thing about Lightroom is that when you “publish” photos somewhere rather than “export” them, Lightroom maintains a relationship between the published photo and the one in your catalog. This means that if six months later you go over it again, crop it differently, or retouch it again, Lightroom can update the photo on Flickr for you.

Of course, you don’t have to: you can make a virtual copy of your photo in Lightroom and work on that one, without impacting the published photo; and you’re also the one who hits the publish button to update the photo on Flickr. It doesn’t happen completely automagically.

The only problem with this is for the person who has included one of the updated Flickr photos in a blog post. Updating changes the photo file name at Flickr, and breaks the insert. Thankfully, there’s a plugin for that.

I love my Flickr account and it contains pretty much all my (published) photos. I can’t deny, however, that a lot of my online social activity happens on Facebook, and that it’s a great environment for photos to circulate. Unfortunately Facebook has really crappy photo library management, so I’ve limited myself to uploading the odd album of photos every now and again. I needed a more sustainable process which didn’t involve exporting photos from Lightroom to my hard drive and uploading them manually.

Autour du chalet, coeur en dentelle

Enter Jeffrey’s Facebook plugin. As Facebook sucks, however, you shouldn’t really use the publish relationship to update photos that you’ve changed since you uploaded them to Facebook. Initially, as all I wanted to do was simplify my export-upload procedure, I used the “export” capability of the plugin. That means that instead of creating a “publish service” I created an “export preset” (File menu) to send photos directly to Facebook. Once sent, they’re sent, and live their lives on their own.

What’s nice is that I can also export photos like that directly to my pages (Tounsi and Quintus will appreciate).

Jeffrey also has a plugin for PicasaWeb, which for all practical matters pretty much means Google+ (Google Plus). Google Plus seems better at handling photo updates, so I set it up as a “publish service”.

I realized that I could use “smart publish collections” to make things simpler. My sets are already defined on Flickr. For example, I have this set of chalet photos, and I just want to reproduce it on Google+ (and Facebook). With a smart album or collection, I can tell Lightroom to “just publish those photos which are in that Flickr set”. Easy! This made me set up Facebook as a publish service too.

Autour du chalet, vue matinale du balcon

I love Jeffrey’s plugins because they are very well-maintained (up-to-date). There is some clunkiness in places because he really pushes beyond the limits of what Lightroom was designed for, but if you’re willing to see the odd error message or use the odd workaround, that should bother you too much. The clunkiness is amply made up for by the extensive documentation you will find both on Jeffrey’s site and in the plugins.

One such workaround is required to create a smart publish collection: because of a Lightroom bug, you have to edit the publish service and add the collection from there. But thankfully Jeffrey is really good at documenting stuff and telling you what to do and how, so you just have to follow the instructions on the screen. Basically you create a smart album or set in the “edit publish service” screen, then once it’s done edit that album to set your “smart” criteria.

Two useful things to know:

Finally, Jeffrey’s plugins are donationware. He spends a lot of time on them, and if you find them useful, you should definitely chip in.

Autour du chalet, crocus sous la neige

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Fiddling With Video: Lightroom, YouTube, and iMovie [en]

[fr] Je m'amuse avec iMovie. Ça donne une vidéo de chats, bien sûr.

In November, I had Thierry Weber come and give my SAWI students a short practical course about YouTube and online video. It gave me a kick in the pants to (1) accept that YouTube has grown up a lot since its early days and is now a nice platform and (2) decide to put more video material out there.

I still have issues with video: either you edit heavily, and it takes hours of work to get a few minutes out of the door, or you share raw, unedited clips and it takes a long time to consume, requiring the viewer’s undivided attention. Also, like audio, there is no way to really speed through video: if it’s an hour long, that’s the time it’ll take you to watch it. You have way less freedom than with text regarding which bits you skip, pay attention to, go back to, or pay little attention to.

I have hours of video shot in India in 2004 that I have not yet done anything with. And that’s just one example.

So, between the kick in the pants, the HD iPhone always at hands, and cats (the primary source of all online content), I’ve been doing more video these last months. Some of them have ended up on my YouTube channel, but not many (can you imagine I actually have the username “steph” on YouTube? yeah.) But most of them are sitting on my hard drive due to logistical difficulties in turning them into something. (Ugly sentence, sorry.)

Today I had made enough progress sorting my photographs that I felt it was time to tackle my videos. Here’s a peek at how I’m doing things.

  • Firstly, I import all videos into Lightroom with my photos, be they from the iPhone or my proper camera.
  • I use Lightroom to organise them in a separate folder than the photos (per month) and topical subfolders if needed. This means that in my 2013/03/ photos folder, in addition to the various photos subfolders I may have (2013/03/Cats at the chalet or 2013/03/Mountains) I will have a folder named 2013/03/videos 03.2013 which might contain 2013/03/videos 03.2013/Cats in chalet garden and a few others, feline-themed or not.
  • If anything needs trashing, I do it in Lightroom, ditto for renaming. Clips can also be trimmed in Lightroom if I haven’t done it before on my iPhone (oh, a note about that: a clip trimmed on the iPhone isn’t recognised for import by Lightroom; it seems that restarting the phone gets rid of the issue.) If I’m going to upload individual clips to YouTube I keyword them “YouTube” and upload them directly to YouTube from the website.
  • For stuff I want to edit: I import the clips I need into iMovie (hopefully I will have collected the clips needed for one project into one single directory in Lightroom, like 2013/01/videos 01.2013/India snippets and keyword them with “iMovie” in Lightroom. This means they exist twice on my hard drive, but I don’t think there is a good way to avoid that (except maybe trash the Lightroom versions, which I’m loathe to do because I like the idea of having all my video stuff organised somewhere, and I like the way Lightroom does it better than iMovie).
  • My video editing skills are extremely limited: today I figured out (without access to iMovie help, which is online!) how to add a title and credits to my little series of clips stuck together end-to-end to create a mini-movie. Head over to YouTube to see my cats explore the big outdoors are the chalet for the first time.

There we go, more cat videos on the internets from my part!

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A Plugin to Compensate for Flickr Broken Embed Suckage? [en]

[fr] Quand on met à jour une photo dans Flickr, Flickr change le nom du fichier. Idée de plugin WordPress pour faire la chasse aux liens cassés.

A few days ago I started noticing this kind of thing in my posts:

Missing photos due to Flickr suckage

The explanation? I’ve used my week of holiday-at-home to fool around quite a bit in Lightroom. Lightroom publishes my photos directly to Flickr. When I change a published photos, Lightroom updates it. But Flickr changes the file name when you republish a photo. And that breaks embeds.

(And yeah, Lightroom replaces the whole photo even if you’ve just edited metadata.)

To make things worse, my browser cache shows me all my photos, even the missing ones. So I don’t see which ones are missing.

Idea! A plugin that would crawl through all the embedded Flickr images in a blog, and make sure that all the photos display correctly. Produce a list of the posts and photos that need updating. Or even better, do it automatically (even if the link to the displayed photo is broken, the link to the photo page still works, and it should be trivial to get the updated embed code and replace it in the post.)

Anybody?

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Getting Your iCloud Photostream to Play Nice With Lightroom [en]

[fr] Frustré de devoir passer par iPhoto pour récupérer vos photos d'iPhone (via Photostream) alors que vous utilisez Lightroom pour gérer vos photos? La solution s'appelle PhotoStream2Folder (et c'est développé par un Suisse)!

So, with all the cat photos I’ve been taking, both with my “good camera” and my iPhone, and trying to publish them both to Flickr and Facebook, I’ve been looking for solutions to make things a little less kludgy.

See, I use Lightroom to manage my “proper photos” and upload them to Flickr, and my iPhone photos now end up in iPhoto, thanks to iCloud. So if I choose to upload any to Flickr, I do it manually from the Flickr site. As for Facebook, I need to export my Lightroom photos to my hard drive first (but that’s another story: haven’t found a solution yet to sync my Flickr uploads to Facebook).

I’ve been unhappy about having my photos in two separate catalogues, specially as the iPhone 4 does have a decent camera and can at times produce usable photos.

The solution is called PhotoStream2Folder and it has been developed by Laurent Crivello, a fellow Swiss guy. (Do consider making a donation if you find his little tool useful.)

PhotoStream2Folder is not just useful for Lightroom users: what it does is dump your photostream photos in a folder you can access on your hard drive, rather than hide it forever in your iPhoto library.

I basically set it up following the “watched folders” instructions on the site (and at the same time, discovered Lightroom watched folders). Follow the screenshots, they are better than any explanation!

  1. First, I installed PhotoStream2Folder
  2. Then, I created a folder called “Photostream” in my Pictures folder — this is where PhotoStream2Folder will dump my photostream photos until Lightroom moves them into my “proper” photo folders (I organize by year/month on my hard drive)
  3. I enabled Auto Import in Lightroom (File > Auto Import) and set it to import photos from the Photostream folder I’d created into another folder in my photo hierarchy:
    Auto Import Settings
  4. Then I configured the settings in PhotoStream2Folder like this:
    PhotoStream2Folder General Settings
    PhotoStream2Folder Lightroom settings
    PhotoStream2Folder Tagging Settings
  5. …and launched the scan!

This means all my photostream photos are now part of my Lightroom catalogue. I personally move those I want to publish or make other useful use of into “proper” folders, and leave all the rest in the photostream folder.

Hope this comes in handy to somebody!

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